Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 1, 2018

Why Are We Surprised By The Aughton Childrens’ Slide Crime?

Crime, especially knife crime, is rampant. Austerity has left us with the appalling situation that we have few police officers, and those we have are unable to protect us. Just look at the 100 thug attack on police in Durham city centre. Bricks and fireworks used, knives were seen.

Locally, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper  has quizzed the Justice Secretary David Gauke on the effectiveness of the deterrence for people carrying a knife. Currently, those convicted of illegally carrying a knife can completely avoid a custodial sentence. With the rise of knife and violent crime in West Lancashire this year, and in particular in Skelmersdale, it would seem the current laws on carrying a knife do not do enough to discourage people from doing so.

In response, the Justice Secretary appeared to ignore the question suggesting there were other means of deterrence but failing to elaborate on what they were or their effectiveness, or whether he was satisfied that penalties were adequate or effective. Rosie Cooper said “There is again deeply upsetting and disappointing news that yet another person has been the victim of a knife attack in Skelmersdale on Sunday.

“The Police have assured me they have stepped up their efforts but stabbings are still occurring, even in broad daylight. I have this week asked the Justice Secretary about the minimum penalties for those convicted of carrying a knife and whether this is deterrence enough. I will also be meeting with the Policing Minister Nick Hurd to discuss the increase in knife and violent crimes this year. Police must be appropriately resourced to investigate and tackle this hugely dangerous and serious issue. We all need to work together as residents also have a responsibility to report and surrender weapons that are coming into the town”.

David Gauke, Secretary of State for Justice said “Well as I have already set out, we are seeing more people going to prison and we are seeing the custodial sentence increasing for these offences following the change in the law. In terms of the question of deterrence, this is in part about sentencing and these are clearly serious offences but there are of course other factors when it comes to the deterrent effect that’s not just about sentences and that we have to bear in mind as well”. Bullshit. What other factors matter other than to lock these people up and throw away the key?

If we claim to be a civilised society, why is our most desperate need now to maintain those essential services for the most vulnerable which will never be self sustaining? Public funding of police, slashed for years, marks out our economy as that of an uncivilised and defenceless society.

The Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner  says he is “Developing safe and confident communities by; Ensuring the Chief Constable and his policing team deliver the highest professional and ethical standards in their service to the public; Ensuring that the public have an accessible, open and transparent policing service; Ensure the public has confidence in their police service; Support Community Safety Partnerships to focus on creating resilient and safer communities; Encouraging volunteering in local areas; Engaging with local communities on issues that matter to them.

Aughton has Winifred Lane, Redsands Park, Beech Gardens, Belvedere Park, Holborn Park, all with play areas. How can Clive Grunshaw give us confidence in his service developing safe and confident communities after the Winifred Lane incident and the Skelmersdale knife crimes, to name just a few?

WLBC has written “Dear Councillors, Parish Clerks and Colleagues, Please see the urgent message enclosed below from Lancashire Constabulary, with attached images.

The message is in respect to razor blades/knife blades that have been attached to the side of the children’s slide at the Parish Council Play Area in Winifred Lane, Aughton. The items have been placed to cause serious harm. In response to this incident, West Lancashire Borough Council will be checking all Council managed play areas and we would strongly recommend that all Parish Council’s that have ownership and management responsibilities for play areas remain vigilant and ensure checks are carried out.

POLICE URGENT ALERT: Parents, please be aware that razor blades/knife blades have been attached to the side of the children’s slide at the Winifred Lane Play area in Aughton this morning. We would ask everyone to be vigilant and check any play equipment before you let your child use it. Please report anything suspicious or any similar incidents to us by calling either 101 or Crimestoppers, 100% anonymously, on 0800 555111.

If anyone has any information about this we’d urge them to contact us as soon as possible. Whoever did this could have caused serious injury to a child – please be assured we are fully investigating this matter.

Clifford Owens. Community Safety Officer. West Lancashire Borough Council

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